Posted by GIRL'S GONE CHILD | Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Not that life has been a silent film, just an unintelligible one. Which is fine. Life doesn't make a lot of sense most of the time, in fact it is far easier to translate Archer's babbles then it is to understand everyone else's English.
Somehow, this whole time I have managed just fine, understanding Archer's methods of communication like it was second nature. Like we were communicating telepathically, without any words at all.
Speech therapy starts in the next couple of weeks. It will go on twice a week until we all agree he doesn't need it anymore. Except in the last few weeks Archer has started talking. I haven't said anything about this until this week because I was afraid that what happened last time might happen again. (I got really excited when Archer spent an entire day pointing at helicopters and calling them he-ca-cas several months ago, only to become disappointed when I realized it was a one-time thing.) But this isn't a one-time thing. Archer is using words, words that even strangers can understand.
Yesterday he said please and today he said thank you. He doesn't say Da-da but he can say, "Hal." Er.. "Howl," which is what he calls Hal. And "Meow" means cat. And when he hides my makeup brushes under the bed, he says, "wha-di-go?"
And today he said, "Hi" to a stranger and "bye-bye" to me when I tucked him into bed, waving at me through the bars of his crib. "Byebyebye."
I was so proud I had to take him out of bed and hug him.
"Yay!" he said, clapping.
"Yay, is right, buster," I said.
We have been told that Archer is thirteen-months behind linguistically. It says so on the piece of paper Early Intervention sent to us. The one we had to sign and send back so he can get assistance.
In the past I have been quick to become defensive about words like "behind." Because it's all relative and Archer has always done things at his own pace, with grace and confidence, happily wandering in circles reaching his hands toward the squirrels, squealing as they scamper across telephone lines.
But today I got to thinking about what it means to be behind, about one of the classic tales of slow and steady wins the race. And I watched as Archer clapped away, as proud as a person could possibly be of himself, unaware of the so-called "finish-line".
The whole world's a race, unfortunately, and our children are growing up during a very rushed time. And I will not deny that Archer has some catching up to do, but he's making his way, coming around the bend, his little head poking out of his shell, smiling and babbling in his little language, and every so often, muttering a word or two.